Democratic Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) tweeted Friday that she will not go to the West Bank and Israel to visit her grandmother after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government initially forbid her from entering.
Tlaib said Israel’s government had sought to silence her and had treated her as a criminal and that she had decided she would not visit her grandmother under those circumstances.
“Silencing me & treating me like a criminal is not what she wants for me,” said Tlaib, whose parents are Palestinian immigrants. “It would kill a piece of me. I have decided that visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions stands against everything I believe in — fighting against racism, oppression & injustice.”
Tlaib is one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress. The other, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), was also barred from entering Israel.
Israel decided to not allow Tlaib and Omar to visit the country after President Trump on Thursday urged them not to do so. Trump has repeatedly used Tlaib and Omar, who have both been critical of Israel’s policies, as political foils.
In explaining her shift, Tlaib said that she wanted to make sure that she could speak “the truth” if visiting Israel.
“When I won, it gave people hope that someone will finally speak the truth about the inhumane conditions,” Tlaib said in a statement. “I can’t allow the State of Israel to take away that light by humiliating me & use my love for my sity to bow down to their oppressive & racist policies.”
“Racism and the politics of hate is thriving in Israel and the American people should fear what this will mean for the relationship between our two nations. If you truly believe in democracy, then the close alignment of Netanyahu with Trump’s hate agenda must prompt a re-evaluation of our unwavering support for the State of Israel,” she continued.
“The denial of entry of a congressional delegation is not only about Congresswoman Omar and I, but also about the deep-rooted racism within Israel that is taking us further away from peace.”
Silencing me & treating me like a criminal is not what she wants for me. It would kill a piece of me. I have decided that visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions stands against everything I believe in–fighting against racism, oppression & injustice. https://t.co/z5t5j3qk4H
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) August 16, 2019
Trump and Israel’s government came under heavy criticism from Democrats for their actions, as well as from some Republicans.